Gallipoli 12: The Best Laid Plans O’ Mice And Men

First World War Hidden History

Grimsby trawler requisitioned as a minesweeperThe Dardanelles were heavily defended. The Turks had placed 370 mines across the Straits in ten lines and an eleventh line of 26 mines parallel to the shore, a mile or so off the coast at Eren Keui Bay. Rather than providing powerful Royal Navy minesweepers as Admiral Carden had requested, the Admiralty had supplied unarmed fishing trawlers manned by volunteers and commanded by a naval officer with no experience of minesweeping. [1] The trawlers, with their sweeps down, could barely make 3 knots against the strong 5-6 knot current which ran through the Dardanelles. They faced serious problems, especially at night, when picked out by powerful searchlights and exposed to gunfire from mobile howitzers and field guns. It was a vicious circle. The make-shift minesweepers could not do their job until the guns had been silenced, and the battleships could not get near enough to silence the guns until…

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